From fashion jewelry to faucets, there have been many significant changes in the popularity and prevalence of precious metals over the years. Few have withstood the test of time. Sterling silver is the exception, and it’s easy to see why. This affordable, durable, beautiful metal outshines competing options. What makes this the substrate of choice in the fashion and jewelry industries?
8 Must-Know Facts About Sterling Silver Beads
1. Sterling silver beads are formed from a mixture of metals.
Sterling silver is an alloy, or mixture of metals. To bear the “sterling silver” namesake, sterling silver beads and findings include a blend of 92.5% silver, as well as several other metals (or combinations of metals). The most common combination is silver and copper, though composition may vary.
2. Sterling silver is stronger than 100% pure silver.
Because silver is a soft metal, it’s prone to dents, scratches, and warping. For jewelry that sees frequent use, that won’t do. Adding copper and other metals to silver makes it harder and more durable, while still maintaining its beauty and value.
3. Sterling silver bears markings of origin and authenticity.
Assayer’s marks denote the origins of each piece of sterling silver, bearing animals and other symbols that signify the country in which each item was made. In addition to this, sterling silver pieces will also boast a number showcasing purity, usually “925,” which stands for 92.5% silver.
4. The value of sterling silver fluctuates.
Though it’s not a pure precious metal, the value of sterling silver changes based on the market price of silver due to the alloy’s high silver content.
5. Sterling silver can tarnish.
While adding copper and other metals to form sterling silver imbues strength, it also makes it more prone to tarnishing with oxygen exposure. Fortunately, you can keep sterling silver jewelry looking its best with regular cleaning with a soft microfiber cloth and nonabrasive polish.
6. Some chemicals can damage the sterling silver.
Always take off your jewelry when swimming in a chlorinated pool or cleaning with bleach, as these chemicals corrode silver. Long-term exposure to sunlight, salt water, perfume, and hairspray also accelerate corrosion. Be mindful of activities before donning your sterling silver creations.
7. Proper storage can prevent tarnishing.
Storing sterling silver jewelry in sealable polyurethane bags, or with desiccants, can prevent tarnishing from humidity and oxygen exposure.
8. Sterling silver can irritate the skin.
Fortunately, flashing with a thin layer of pure silver, plating, and other coatings can damper irritation.
Ready to Design with Sterling Silver?
With proper care, sterling silver can last a lifetime – or longer. Create jewelry designs that will stand the test of time with our wide variety of sterling silver offerings, including:
Already sweating summer boredom? Whether you are a parent or activities instructor, summer break is the perfect time to try a few fun jewelry making projects with your kids. Easy and inexpensive, jewelry projects help kids develop their fine motor skills and creativity and leave them with a unique memento of the summer season.
Inspire Your Child’s Creativity with these Kids Jewelry-Making Favorites:
We offer a variety of colorful and unique beads that children love for making necklaces and bracelets. Choose from some of the kid-friendly favorites below, complementing them with our wide assortment of gold-filled and sterling silver beads and findings…
Alternate colorful semi precious stones in a vibrant pattern of each child’s favorite colors, stringing on a stretch cord for an easy fit. Add in fun accent pieces such as Bali beads or gold-filled and silver charms with a jump ring to make a statement.
The perfect way to add both color and texture to a jewelry design, smooth, shimmery cat’s eye beads make kids of all ages ‘ooh’ and ‘ahhh.’ Alternate bold colors of stones of the same shape, or mix shapes to stunning effect.
Don’t Miss Out on these Other Fun Bead Styles
Providing an assortment of beads allows each child to showcase their own unique personality through their jewelry making creativity.
Tarnished silver abandoned in the jewelry box? The brilliance and versatility of sterling silver beads make them a wildly popular addition to many jewelry pieces. Unfortunately, exposure to air can lead to the tarnishing of silver jewelry, making items appear dirty or discolored. Luckily, however, you can give these pieces a fresh start, easily cleaning sterling silver beads and jewelry with these tips and tricks…
Electrolyte Method for Resilient Pieces
The electrolyte method is easy and science-backed, helping you avoid endless polishing and possible abrasions on ornate or engraved pieces. It reverses the chemical reaction that causes tarnishing. To clean with the electrolyte method, you will need a dish or bowl, aluminum foil, 1 cup boiling water, and 1 tablespoon baking soda. Line the dish with foil, dull side down. Place the jewelry in the dish, making certain it touches the foil. This ensures the silver sulfide atoms tarnishing the piece will transfer to the aluminum foil. (They will also cause a ‘rotten egg’ smell as they lift, so do not be alarmed.) Mix the baking soda with the boiling water, then pour the solution onto your jewelry in the dish. Let sit for 2-10 minutes to remove tarnish, then rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth.
Silver Cleaning for ‘Delicates’
Like your favorite cashmere sweater, some pieces are more delicate than others, requiring more careful cleaning. This includes jewelry held together with glue, porous stone beads (gemstones like opal, turquoise, onyx, and carnelian), as well as clear gemstones such as Swarovski crystal beads and pendants, Cloisonné beads, watches, and antiques. For these more delicate jewels, try one of the following methods:
Simple Soap & Water
This simple and safe method should be the first cleaning method you attempt on silver jewelry.
Baking Soda & Water
Make a paste of baking soda and water, polishing your silver beads gently with a pea-sized amount on a polishing cloth. For etched or detailed items such as silver fancy beads and corrugated beads, be sure to use a thinner paste. A soft-bristle brush can help on cracks/crevices. Run carefully under warm water when done and dry with a clean cloth.
White Vinegar & Baking Soda
This combination works better for items with heavier tarnish, applied in the same manner as the baking soda method, however it should NOT be used with soft gemstones, which can etch and scratch. Make a solution of ½-cup vinegar to 2-tablespoons vinegar for polishing. Expect it to fizz and bubble. Rinse well and pat dry.
The Easiest Tarnish Prevention
Many avoid wearing their sterling silver jewelry, saving it for special occasions. While silver can be effected by chlorinated pool water and sunlight, however, surprisingly, the oils from your skin can help your jewelry keep its shine. Thus, wearing silver jewelry often is the easiest tarnish prevention. When its not being worn, reduce oxidation by simply sealing each piece into a small craft bag separately. This also prevents scratching and tangling.
Ensure looks that last with premium beading supplies. Shop Crystal Findings today.
Do you love making jewelry? If so, you can find a way to turn this hobby into a profession. You should do what you love, and if you love gold filled beads, sterling silver beads and trinkets, you need to consider a career as a jewelry craftsperson.
Sell Jewelry Online
Anyone who loves to make different kinds of jewelry can sell the pieces online. That way, you can develop a side line that could turn into a full-time occupation. You may also want to consider other bead materials such as stones or crystals. The choice is entirely up to you. You can become a jewelry designer overnight. You just need to learn how to make the art into a full-time venture. It’s easy when all your jewelry making supplies are available online.
Make the Internet as well as today’s technology work for you. Maybe you want to display your wares for people to buy. Again, you can turn to the Internet for this type of coverage. You can display all the jewelry you make from what you buy in beading supplies online. You can entice your friends to look at the selections by sharing your business with them on Facebook and introducing your website. You can also use other social media channels such as Twitter and Reddit for the same purpose.
Make the Process Fun
The whole idea of jewelry making is to make it fun. If you love to create pretty jewelry pieces, this is the way to do it. You do not have to assume a large overhead either if you take on this type of venture. All you need to do is to have a creative flair and be able to advertise your services via social media.
Once your business grows or you have more customers, you may want to advertise on sites such as Etsy or eBay. Again, you have it in your power to make a business out of jewelry making if you wish to succeed at this type of activity. You just need to know where to begin.
Realize Your Entrepreneurial Dreams Online
The best way to start the process is to go online and choose some supplies. Think about what you would like to make. By taking this initial step, you can realize your dreams as an entrepreneur. You can find an outlet for your creative skills and abilities, and you can make it happen on the Internet. Set up a website that showcases your jewelry and you will be in business almost overnight.
Take time now to go online and decide what you will offer. Look for website platforms that you can use as an online store. Make it your goal this year to become a designer – create jewelry that your friends and family will admire and love.
Making your own jewelry isn’t just a lot of fun, it is also a great way to make gifts for the people that you care about. If you haven’t ever made your own jewelry before, it is normal to feel a little overwhelmed and unsure of how to get started. Beading is one way of making jewelry and is a great choice for many people who are interested in learning how to make their own jewelry. Not only can you quickly learn the basics, but you won’t need very many pieces of equipment to get started.
Gathering Your Tools
Your first step in learning how to bead is gathering all of the tools that you will need. If you have a well-stocked toolbox at your home then you may already have everything you need, otherwise, you will want to consider buying your tools at the same place where you buy your beading supplies online. You will need flat-nosed pliers and wire cutters as well as specialized round-nose pliers, scissors, and jewelry glue. When you have all of your tools on hand, you can start choosing your new beads that you want to use to design your new pieces.
Picking Your Beads
There are many different types of beads available for you to choose from, which is why it can get a little overwhelming for some people to shop for beads. No matter if you want gemstones, glass, Swarovski crystal beads, or sterling silver beads and findings, you are going to be best off buying bulk jewelry making supplies from a reputable company who has a lot of different options. Depending on what your style is and what kind of jewelry you are interested in making, you will be able to narrow down your choices and find beads that work for you.
Pick Your Findings and Stringing Medium
Once you have bought your pearl, silver, and gold filled beads, it’s time to choose your findings and stringing medium. You need findings such as bead tips, clasps, jump rings, and headpins to get started so that you can connect and finish all of your pieces. Stringing mediums can include coated wire, silk, and even nylon, which means that it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and con of each type before you buy.
After you have all of your tools and supplies, it’s time to get inspired and set aside some time to bead. It may be a little daunting looking at all of your new supplies, but you won’t ever learn if you don’t pick up the pliers and get to work. Taking a class to learn how to bead or buying a book that explains the process and offers inspiration is a great way to get started and will help you start designing your own jewelry right away. In no time at all you are likely to be creating incredible pieces that all of your friends and family members will love!